Tag Archives: 5K

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 51: Sweaty Santa

I’m a bit late to the Christmas party with this post, but oh well …

There are some looks I can pull off, but “Santa” isn’t one of them. I came to this conclusion last year at the inaugural Santa Sightings run in New Bedford, MA. In a sea of 1,200 Clauses, I may well have been the most dodgy. My jacket didn’t fit, my pants were too short, and my beard was an epic fail. This is what I wrote back then: “I looked more like a dumpy, slightly shady elf than a spreader of joy.” Yep.

Nonetheless, we decided to revisit Santapalooza in 2012, because we really, really wanted two more awesomely bad red felt suits to add to our collection. So handy for parties …

Santa Sightings 2012

Spot the Santa.

I guess not. We ran it again because it’s amusing to see a downtown overrun (literally) by many identically dressed but radically different-sized Santas. And it’s nice to participate in a race in which the majority of people are there purely for the fun of it. Also, it’s an untimed event, meaning Hubby and I can run together without it seriously messing with his average. We very rarely get to run together.

Five minutes into this 5K, however, I think he was rueing the day the race organizers decided to forego timing chips. Sure we got to run as a duo, but alongside him was the hottest (not the good kind), sweatiest, most complainy Santa ever …

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 50: Not too fa la la la la to go

When I showed up to the Jolly Jaunt 5K at the Boston Common in 2011, I stood out like a sore thumb because I was decked out in a pink beanie in a sea of red and green. I didn’t really learn my lesson in 2012. The pink beanie is long gone (I can’t seem to find it. Sniff), but I arrived in my usual slightly absurd winter running outfit with nary a festive hue on me. Oops. Sore thumb alert.

Jolly Jaunt 2012

Red and green was nowhere to be seen on my person (trust me).

More troublingly, I also showed up incredibly late, thanks to some uncharacteristic misreading of the MBTA Trip Planner. If Hubby hadn’t been away Guarding, it’s unlikely this lateness would have occurred. Firstly, we would have been driving rather than public transiting, and secondly, we would have been there 90 minutes before—because Hubby refuses to turn up to a run any later than that. I mock him for it mercilessly (we spend large chunks of time waiting/napping in the car having woken up at 5.30am), but we never, ever have to line up.

I recognized the prudence in his approach when I was standing in a 30-deep line of people to get my bib 20 minutes before the start of the run while crazed volunteers ran around trying to locate bibs and T-shirts. It’s probably a commonplace fiasco at a large event such as this; I’ve just never experienced it. (Because I picked up my bib in a previous geologic age.)

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Race company awesomeness

I left out a part of the story about me implausibly winning an age group award at the Wolf Hollow 5K.

When the results were posted at the run, I was fourth. When we checked them again at home, I was third. I guess the gal above me was in the wrong age group. Score!

It meant, however, that I didn’t get a pint glass. 3C Race Productions, the folks who put on the Wolf Hollow, are famous for their pint-glasses-as-prizes (soda glasses if you’re under 21), and I was very excited by the prospect of getting one by means other than having my name pulled out of a hat. (I had obtained a 3C glass this way before, at the 4K on the 4th, and also at the Covered Bridge 5K, as pointed out by an avid S&J reader also known as Hubby).

So I emailed Mr. 3C, explained what had happened, and he said he’d mail me a glass. How nice! A couple of weeks passed and I hadn’t really thought about it. Then this week (funnily enough, on the same day I posted about the run), I got a package in the mail. It seemed suspiciously flat for a pint glass.

Fun on Foot in New England

Fun!

It was a copy of Fun on Foot in New England, with a nice note from Mr. 3C saying they had warehoused all the glasses and I should ask about them again in the new year.

How fabulous and unexpected is that? So, not only can I now prove to my likely mocking grandchildren that, yes, it’s true that I won a running age group award back in the day (my mother is surely wondering what parallel future universe I am referring to), I can also, you know, find out where to have fun. On foot.

Getting this terrific prize gives me a chance to talk about the all-around awesomeness of 3C Race Productions. They put on more than 200 runs in New England every year, to the point where I am convinced their folks are cloned, especially owner Michael Amarello, with whom I corresponded over my prize. We have run a lot of their races, and the events are always amazingly fun, laid-back affairs but super well organized. We especially appreciate 3C’s approach to handing out awards. Get it done fast! (I’ve aged 10 years standing through interminable awards ceremonies.)

Our 3C runs:

* The Covered Bridge 5K. Henniker, NH. September 4, 2011 (Hills from hell)
* Semap Bog Jog. Wareham, MA. September 17, 2011 (Still one of my favorite runs)
* Lake George 5K. Lake George, NY. April 29, 2012 (Was my PR run for ages)
* 4K on the 4th. Concord, NH. July 1, 2012 (Horrendously hot and a terrible run for me, but where I met Courtney Marshall)
* Tiger Trot. Hampton Falls, NH. November 17, 2012 (Fuzzy mascots!)
* Wolf Hollow 5K, Nashua, NH, November 25, 2012 (Age group award!)

Hubby also did this one:

* Zach Attach 5K. Hudson, NH, August 25, 2012 (Great cause)

Any New Englanders reading this, I recommend you find a 3C race or two to run if you like small, smooth, spirited events. They’re a friend to beer everywhere!

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 49: I’m number three!

I expected many things from this almost-over (!) 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. I expected that I would run 52 races. I expected that I would be out of breath—a lot—and that my face would frequently be as red as a tomato. I expected to be hot. I expected to be freezing. I expected to always be at the back of the pack.

I never, ever, ever expected that my name would wind up on Cool Running under the title “5K Age Group Winners.” (I was third, by the way.)

OK, you can stop laughing now. (It took me about a week.)

Wolf Hollow Half Marathon

I am a logo.

The occasion of my dubious glory was the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon and 5K in Nashua, NH. This wasn’t a race I was particularly prepared for (although when has that ever been the case?). I had run the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day 5-miler a few days before and that had pretty much done me in. (Note: It doesn’t take much to do me in.) Also, it was really freaking cold. Thankfully, we were allowed to take pre-run refuge inside the Nashua YMCA, which is the Taj Mahal of YMCAs. It put our poor, long-suffering (albeit in the middle of a major makeover) Quincy Y to shame. So much so that all I wanted to do was hang out in the well-appointed coziness until Hubby finished the half (they started before us 5Kers). I was wearing my bib; that counts as a run, right?

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 47: Grrrrrr

There are so many Turkey Trots around this time of the year that we decided to go against the grain the weekend before Thanksgiving and run a Tiger Trot. Those cooked-turkey hats scare the crap out of me, but tigers are OK. Not that there were many people sporting novelty headwear at this small event in Hampton Falls, near Exeter, NH (which seems like our second home these days). There was, however, a tiger mascot doing the rounds, as well as a priceless kid stumbling about in a fuzzy Dunkin’ Donuts costume that was far too big for him (he had to look out the arm hole). I don’t know what I was thinking, but I failed to snap a photo. You’ll just have to imagine the hilariousness.

Tiger Trot

Check out that sky!

Hosted by the Lincoln Akerman School, the Tiger Trot had lots of kids and parents, and a fun community atmosphere. I love these kinds of runs. There was a 5K and, oddly, a 10 miler, which was pretty adventurous given that this was a first-time event with a smallish crowd (although they had a pretty good turnout, considering). I ran the 5K, and Hubby the 10 mile. I don’t think I was mentally ready for another 10 after my last disaster over that distance (although I have run a half since then).

I would normally insert my customary weather rant here, but it was actually a gorgeous day for a run. My ideal running weather window is definitely anything between 3 and 10 degrees Celsius (36-50 F for all my American friends). Got to be sunny though. I’d happily run in those conditions all year round.

My performance expectations were high. After all, last time I did a 5K, I set a PR by more than 20 seconds and ran under 30 minutes for the first time. I just assumed that now I had managed that once, my legs and lungs would naturally rise to the occasion and let me do it again.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 46: In your face, 30 minutes!

Much like running itself, I am hot and cold on blogging. Sometimes I appreciate it as the wonderful creative outlet that it is, one that I don’t really have anymore in my professional life (I used to write headlines; now I write emails). Other times it’s just a huge pain in the butt, requiring more time and maintenance than I’m willing to give. I’m sure my fellow occasional bloggers would agree that the activity also comes with its fair share of nagging self-doubt. (Where did everybody go?) The blogosphere is a mercurial place to inhabit.

I mention this for two reasons. One is by way of explaining my recent on-again, off-again approach to S&J, which has been driven by my lingering IT injury, work and life busyness, and the reasons I mentioned above. The other is that I was doing a sweep of all the blogs I have followed over the past 12 months and was astounded by how many have just fallen by the wayside. They were good bloggers writing about interesting things who obviously just decided they didn’t have the time for it, or that directing valuable effort to something that, for the most of us, winds up in an internet vacuum is rather a waste. Motivation to write, or run, for that matter, is a tough thing to maintain.

Indeed!

For those of you fabulous folks who have been following me during the year, I haven’t given up. In fact, my run last weekend, No. 46 in the 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge, was my best 5K yet. I have no idea how, and have decided it’s probably better not to think about it too much. The words “course not measured properly” keep entering my mind.

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52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 45: The mandatory Color Run

It occurred to me soon after I started Stride & Joy that one of the requirements of the runblogosphere is that you MUST participate in at least one Color Run. Two if you want to be taken really seriously.

I kid. I do admit that the run appealed to me. But I’m not sure why. I wouldn’t have thought being sprayed with colorful crap would be that enjoyable. But I was completely sucked in by the marketing: Happiest 5K on the Planet!!! The planet!! The folks on the Color Run website may look like rejects from the Rainbow Brite factory, but they’re all having So. Much. Fun.

The Color Run

A sea of white to start.

Lest you think this is going to devolve into a rant about big, expensive, soulless running events, it’s not (although the Color Run does fall into each of those categories to varying degrees). I did indeed enjoy being covered with colorful crap, OK cornstarch, even though I didn’t emerge from the melee as colorful as I thought I would, and the wave starts took an eternity (diminishing my fun at the outset). The Color Run is expensive, but it does donate to local charities in each city it’s held in, so there’s that. And it gets people out running who may not normally do it, so there’s that as well.

The Color Run

Lovely day for it.

However, mostly what I enjoyed about this event was Hubby’s get-up. When we signed up for the Washington, D.C., Color Run months ago (actually held at National Harbor in Maryland), he declared his intention to do it in a white Root Suit. The run suggests you wear white to maximize the impending colorfulness, so, he figured, why not go the full blanc?

Made sense to me.

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